With students from 128 different countries, the University of Wolverhampton has a strong international community and ensures that their time here is memorable and exciting.
Trips to landmarks and places of interest, social events and celebrations are a regular part of their term-time calendar and enhance their learning experience.
Now, a new initiative has been piloted which enables the University’s international students to gain valuable experience of the world of work, helping them to develop skills which will boost their future careers.
The International Student Enrichment Programme has been designed to improve students’ skills in leadership and innovation as well as their practical presentation, teamwork and interview skills.
The complete programme is an eight-week course, including the work placement at a West Midlands company. The taught element of the course includes modules on leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and also includes elements on CV enhancement, employability and interview skills. It also offers assistance for students who are looking to start their own business.
Thirteen international students from a range of EU and non-EU countries took part.
Wherever possible, students were placed in a company that matches the area theyhave been studying. They were given the opportunity to shadow senior management staff and get a flavour of the working world. Their final week was focused on reflecting on their work placement.
The pilot proved extremely successful, resulting in some very positive feedback from the students. So much so that some of them have continued working in their placement company on a part-time basis alongside their studies.
Nigerian students Rachael Edionhon and Ejiro Ogboru, who did their work placements at the University’s School of Computing and IT Marketing Department and Groundwork in Tipton respectively, were full of enthusiasm for the course.
Rachael, studying MA Marketing Management, says: “The work placement was a great opportunity, which gave me the chance to shadow three different managers.”
Ejiro, who is studying Environmental Management, says: “It was different, exciting and an attitude changer.”
The course was run by the International Office, and Careers and Employment Services, alongside relevant Schools from within the University. Last year it included the University of Wolverhampton Business School and the School of Computing and Information Technology, where Employability and Placements Officer, Krystyna Nosek, organised the students’ work placements.
The International Office says the programme improves students employability skills andexperience as much as it strengthens mutually beneficial links with local employers.
It also helps international students approaching the end of their studies, to gain the skills to find full-time employment in the UK - all non-EU students graduating with an undergraduate or postgraduate degree are entitled to apply for a two-year Post-Study Work visa enabling them to work full-time in the UK.
Students who take advantage of this opportunity give themselves an edge over their fellow graduates and add value to their academic studies at the University of Wolverhampton.
Director, International Jo Gittens, says: “This is an excellent opportunity for our international students to broaden their skills and help them make the move into a job in the UK or their home country after graduating.
“We believe it will help international students in the increasingly competitive global job market when they graduate.
“The scheme is part of our Internationalisation Agenda and we hope to expand this to more students in the future.”